Evaporation ponds, commonly used in many industries to manage wastewater, can occupy a large footprint and often pose risks to birds and other wildlife, yet they’re an economical way to deal with contaminated water. Now researchers at Berkeley Lab have demonstrated a way to double the rate of evaporation by using solar energy and taking advantage of water’s inherent properties, potentially reducing their environmental impact.
The National Alliance for Water Innovation, which is led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been awarded a five-year, $100-million Energy-Water Desalination Hub by DOE to address water security issues in the United States.
In recent years, wildfires in the western United States have occurred with increasing frequency and scale. Climate change scenarios in California predict prolonged periods of drought with potential for conditions even more amenable to wildfires. The Sierra Nevada Mountains provide up to 70% of the state’s water resources, yet there is little known on how
A Q&A with scientist Michelle Newcomer on looking for unexpected causes of harmful algal blooms. Harmful and nuisance algal blooms are thought to have a number of contributing causal factors, including a build-up of nutrients, unusually high water temperatures, and extreme weather events such as floods and drought. But an understanding of the connectivity between these triggers is missing, as is an ability to predict the onset of the blooms.
A Q&A with scientist Jeff Urban, who explains forward osmosis and how Berkeley Lab is pushing the frontiers of this emerging technology.
Every year, hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells generates billions of gallons of contaminated water. Scientists at Berkeley Lab and the CO School of Mines believe microbes could be the key to turning this waste into a resource.
For years, routine testing has shown that watersheds of the Mahaulepu Valley and Waikomo Stream in southeast Kauai frequently contain high counts of potentially pathogenic fecal indicator bacteria (FIB). To better understand the cause of the high FIB counts, the DOH commissioned a study by Berkeley Lab microbial ecologists Gary Andersen and Eric Dubinsky. After using a powerful microbial detection tool called the PhyloChip, the scientists concluded that most of the past monitoring results were false positives.
The overpumping of groundwater in California has led to near environmental catastrophe in some areas – land is sinking, seawater is intruding, and groundwater storage capacity has shrunk. But researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory believe machine learning could be part of the solution to restoring groundwater to sustainable levels and quality.
Wastewater is treated by an activated sludge process in municipal wastewater treatment plants and returned to the environment for use. This treatment process has been used for over a century, and today represents the largest application of biotechnology in the world, yet there has been no effort to map the global activated sludge microbiome. A
A future warmer world will almost certainly feature a decline in fresh water from the Sierra Nevada mountain snowpack. Now a new study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that analyzed the headwater regions of California’s 10 major reservoirs, representing nearly half of the state’s surface storage, found they could see on average a 79 percent drop in peak snowpack water volume by 2100.